Switzerland and Indonesia launched a joint program in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, on Tuesday to improve the quality of the workforce in the latter’s tourism industry.
The program aims to address a skills mismatch and develop a better-qualified workforce to boost the country’s growing tourism sector, with a strong focus on eastern Indonesia, the Swiss Embassy said in a statement.
“We hope the sustainable tourism education development project will support our efforts to improve the professional skills of our hospitality students and eventually contribute to the competitiveness of Indonesian tourism,” Deputy Tourism Minister Rizki Handayani said in the statement.
The $3.9 million project is supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs and the Lombok Tourism Polytechnic, and aims to improve the curriculum and teacher qualification, while also fostering ties between the school and the tourism industry.
The project will incorporate Switzerland’s “dual-track” vocational education system, which will involve students receiving training both in school and in the workplace.
Indonesia announced plans two years ago to prioritize the development of 10 tourism destinations across the archipelago – known as the “Ten New Balis – as the country seeks to boost revenue by attracting more overseas visitors and encouraging foreign investment in the tourism sector.
It has set an ambitious target of attracting 20 million visitors annually by 2019, and has been widely promoting these alternative destinations – including Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi and Morotai in North Maluku – across various platforms.
However, the country still grapples with a skills mismatch, which often calls for more investment in human resources development. This is crucial in labor-intensive industries such as tourism, the Swiss Embassy said.
“Switzerland is a very popular tourist destination. Tourism in Switzerland has benefited significantly from a well-functioning vocational education system,” said Raymund Furrer, who heads economic cooperation and development at the economic affairs secretariat.
The project in Lombok is the latest in Swiss support for vocational education in Indonesia and forms part of broader cooperation between the two countries.